Most of you may look at that pie pic and assume it is filled with fruit or some other sweet concoction. Well, you would be wrong. This, my friends, is Easter Pie, a family recipe that originates with my grandmother Emma Pizzi, god rest her soul. This tradition is perhaps the most revered of all my stepfather’s family and I am so happy that I can carry it on and share it with my friends and of course, all of you faithful readers.
So what exactly is in an Easter Pie? Meat. Lots and lots of meat. Italian cold cuts to be precise. I’m not entirely sure why this particular combination is reserved for Easter, but I do know that my grandmother was very devout and observed the tradition of refraining from eating meat during all of lent. So when Easter arrives, what better way to celebrate than a pie full of meat? According to my stepfather the recipe was actually handed down from my stepfather’s father’s mother Michelina, to whom my grandmother was very close. Who knows what prompted her to chop up a bunch of cold cuts and throw them into a pie crust, but we are sure glad she did.
Now the original recipe calls for something called fresh cheese or “basket cheese“, which, according to the linked article, is an Italian delicacy made only at Easter time that apparently is like a blend of ricotta, cottage cheese, and fresh mozzarella. I’m sure it’s divine, but personally I have never been able to locate it, so I have always just used a bulb of fresh mozz you find at any grocery store. It works beautifully. Also according to this article, Easter Pie is a fairly common tradition with countless variations, which probably explains where Michelina got the idea…. but don’t worry. Ours is the best.